The New Career Playbook for Corporate Affairs

Talent pathways in a transformed profession after the pandemic

Our Asia-Pacific partners, Andrews Partnership, recently launched a game changing study based on in-depth interviews with some of the highest-performing corporate affairs directors in the region.  The series of recommendations included in the report are equally relevant for our global network and are a great insight to help corporate affairs professionals globally achieve real impact in their careers.

To download the report in full:

Report Overview

Over the last quarter of a century, we have witnessed a complete transformation in the corporate affairs function. An often undervalued and misunderstood profession at the turn of the millennium, it has since undergone the most dramatic metamorphosis to develop into the executive function we see today.

First, of course, the internet, social and smartphone revolutions of the late 1990s and 2000s changed the whole business calculus for our industry, fundamentally altering how people interacted with institutions. Overnight, everyone in the world was a stakeholder, everyone had a voice – and everyone had a platform for their views, in their pocket, all of the time. Reputations could now be brought down in an instant, and became vastly more complex to manage.

In response, we suddenly saw corporate affairs leaders ascending to the boardrooms of the world’s leading multinationals, tasked with bringing genuine professional management to the company’s increasingly fragile and volatile reputation; charged with somehow getting a grip on all its dizzyingly complex levers. In many cases, they were rewarded with significantly increased scope and budgets to match, and the last decade has been defined by ground-breaking work in many parts of our industry to deliver on that confidence.

But that early promise was then severely tested in January 2020 – the second great, catalysing moment for our profession. For the once-in-a century strategic storm of Covid-19 proved, from the outset, to be a heavily communications- and people-centred crisis. Corporate affairs didn’t just have ‘a seat at the executive table’, it was often now the first item on the executive agenda – frequently leading the response to the challenges of a displaced, anxious and potentially compromised workforce, massively disrupted operations, and the need to operationalise a whole new communications infrastructure overnight.

It has been the making of our profession. At Andrews Partnership, we believe the last 20 months has seen corporate affairs achieve a form of final maturation; not just a cementing of its stature in the world’s boardrooms but a whole new form of career strength from the provable value it now knows it can deliver.

All of this revolutionary change has, in turn, transformed the fortunes, stature and purpose of those who have dedicated their careers to working in the field. This exclusive research report from Andrews Partnership explores those revolutionary career paths for our industry’s most tenured professionals, and asks what we can learn from what they have learnt over decades of change – and how that could translate into career advice for those now making their way up the ladder.

It has been an extraordinary time for our profession. We hope you enjoy exploring the recollections of our interviewees as much as we have valued using their insights to begin building the foundations for the next stages of our industry’s development.

To download the report in full: